Young chess players get the opportunity to learn from grandmasters at Nottingham tournament

  • Rajiv Popat spoke to some of the players at the tournament

Some of the country's up-and-coming chess players are competing alongside world-class stars at a tournament in Nottingham.

Organisers say it's the perfect opportunity for the young players to rub shoulders with Grandmasters and learn some top tips to improve their game.

Miheli Gunarathne is just 8 years old and is competing alongside her 12-year-old brother Senith.

8-year-old Miheli Gunarathne says it’s amazing being around some of her heroes and learning from the best. Credit: ITV News Central

She says she loves playing chess and enjoys learning something different each time.

"I like it because it makes me think harder because when I'm in a tricky position it makes me think a lot," Miheli says.

"When I win I just feel happy and when I lose sometimes I feel a bit happy because I can analyse the game and see what's wrong and then I can correct that in the next game!"Miheli's brother Senith has been playing for 3 years. He says chess keeps him calm and helps him focus, concentrating one hundred per cent.

He says: "Chess trains you to take your time and think about moves, because when you play moves you need to think about what you do, whether they're good or bad, or whether your opponents can checkmate you or take some of your pieces."

The tournament has been held to mark the centenary of the Nottingham Chess Association - organisers say a competition like this is invaluable for young players in particular.Tournament Director Tim Wall says: "The Grandmasters are trying to trip you up at every single opportunity. It's often said you have to beat a Grandmaster three times in a game - once in the opening, once in the middle, and once in the end game."

Jonah Willow, who holds the International Master title has been playing since he was 4 years old - and by the age of 10 he was competing in major tournaments.

He says: "My dad taught me, learning with my sister, and after a few weeks of it - it's got a lot of logic, creativity as well, and calculation, obviously."

Miheli says she loves learning from the Grandmasters at the tournament. Credit: ITV News Central

Ankush Khandelwal started playing chess again during the Covid pandemic. He now travels all over the world to play, and is pleased that this tournament is very close to home.

"This year I went to Spain, to Germany, to Spain, to Mallorca - and then a second one in Germany," he says, adding: "So to have a high-quality tournament like this in Nottingham is just incredible."Miheli says it’s amazing being around some of her heroes and learning from the best."I mostly like how they take time and do some tactics and how they play," she says: "So that's what I try and do, and just like get the tactic into my mind and then once they play it, I can play it."

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